Andy Barber is from Montreal, where he grew up during World War Two. Not one for school, he left to find employment in the CN rail yards of Point St-Charles, where he found work as a carman’s apprentice. But the lure of the navy proved strong, and Andy joined up just as the Korean War was underway. Andy arrived in Korea as the ceasefire was underway, but as he recalls, the tensions were still high, and they were always patrolling the islands off the coast, on the lookout for North Korean troops. The return trip saw the Haida run into Typhoon Grace, which Andy recalls as his most dangerous day in the navy. The ship was caught in 20-30 m waves, and almost somersaulted at one point. But they made it back to Canada safely, and soonafter headed to the Gulf Stream for more NATO exercises, as the young Andy rose through the ranks. By the mid-1950s Andy was stationed in Shearwater, Nova Scotia, and now having met his future wife, he decided to leave navy life behind, as he and his wife settled into the rhythm of postwar Canada.
Andy visited us at Crestwood in April 2018, along with Ron Kirk and Mike Vencel, whose stories can also be found in this project. Scott Masters did a follow up visit with them in August 2018, interviewing them at the Halton Naval Veterans Club in Burlington.
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